NAIDOC Week – Get Up, Stand Up and Show Up

It’s another NAIDOC week celebration. The theme for this year – 2022 is as depicted in the above poster. It is a fitting theme as it encourages everyone that believes in what NAIDOC stands for to embrace just that, to GET UP! STAND UP! AND SHOW UP! on all that we have decided to achieve for our people and our communities. The fact is we cannot afford to rely on others to bring about much needed changes we so desire. Any desired achievements lie squarely on our shoulders, both old, and young emerging leaders of our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people. As the theme calls us to do, Let us all - Get Up, Stand Up and Show Up where and when it matters most.

Now is the time to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, organisations and community on the services and resources that best meet the needs of our people.

The tides are slowly moving and as the slogan says, we must be prepared to Get UP! Stand Up, and Show Up for without a united front we will remain standing where we find ourselves today.

 Lydia Gah, Holistic Counsellor and Coach

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Support through a tragic event

Traumatic events disrupt lives physically and psychologically, creating intense emotional distress for individuals, families and whole communities. Organisations play a vital and valuable role in assisting and supporting their employees and their families in the immediate aftermath and in the days, weeks and months following tragic events.

The immediate focus is to ensure that everyone is safe. At this present time, particularly with intense media coverage and access to information on the internet, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a heightened state of emotion for everyone involved. It’s important to be aware that everyone will respond differently and everyone’s needs will be different, initially and over time. Being prepared to provide initial and long term support for people will enhance and promote their own personal coping strategies and resilience.

What your people will need right now is (download pdf version here):

  • If needed, allow additional time at home to spend time with family and friends - this helps them to feel safe and connected, and reassure others of their safety.
  • Make sure your people have access to support information and numbers - specifically the EAP and any other services you may have in place.
  • Give people assurance that affected families will be supported in some form or another.

Over the coming days, and in time, what your people will need is for you to provide simple and accurate information on how to access services, specifically encourage, and make it easy to speak with a professional counsellor. Most people will not want to speak to a counsellor in the initial days or weeks as they support each other. It is in the long term when people need support from a counsellor or their Employee Assistance Program.

Create an environment that allows people to talk amongst themselves about fears and hopes related to the tragic events. Openly sharing with others has been known to promote personal recovery. There is also comfort in a shared community supporting one another.

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Leading from the front: How to spot symptoms of trauma and support your people

Published in LH Agenda 3rd June 2022

Marcela Slepica, AccessEAP Director, Clinical Services says, "as leaders, we must be able to recognise the signs our people might be struggling – and know how to help."

Like any mental health challenges, the most effective way to gauge someone’s feelings is to ask. Reaching out to a colleague to check if they’re okay could be the important first step to them feeling better.

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HR Business Partner - Sydney Based

Role Summary:

The HR Business partner provides business focused strategic and operational HR advice to AccessEAP management and staff. The Business Partner coaches and supports managers on employee lifecycle issues, employment related matters and organisational policy in line with AccessEAP’s Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles. The HR Business Partner works with management and staff to support new ways of working and continuous improvement within AccessEAP.

Reporting into the Director of Corporate Services, this is stand-alone role is supported by resources including specialist employment legal advice and HR peer support through our affiliated network.  

Key Responsibilities

  • Working alongside managers and other stakeholders across the business to address their departmental needs
  • Be a first line of contact for recruitment for general hires including screening, interviewing, onboarding, compliance and verifications
  • General HR administration, maintaining the HRIS system (ELMO) helping to utilise the renumeration, onboarding, contracts and recruitment functions
  • Opportunity to develop policies and documents especially around creating an efficient model of administrating HR at AccessEAP

Essential criteria:

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Leadership Series – Growth Mindset

Jenny Kahn, Learning & Development Consultant

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So sail away from the safe harbour. Explore. Dream. Discover” Mark Twain

A mindset is much like a mental lens through which we view the world, which drives what we do and why. Mindsets are patterns of thoughts and behaviour, shaped and influenced by several factors such as our past experiences, temperament, learned behaviours and beliefs. Whilst mindsets help us identify opportunities, they might also trap us in self-destructive cycles. The good news is that they can be transformed.

When we have a fixed mindset, our lens can become very narrow. When we adopt a growth mindset our lens becomes wider, enabling us to have a more open, expansive perspective.

Renowned psychologist, Carol Dweck1 coined the concept of fixed and growth mindsets. She says that success comes from mindset– or the way people approach life’s challenges, rather than talent, education, and intelligence. People with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe they have innate and unchangeable intelligence, skills and abilities. People with a ‘growth mindset’ embrace challenges because they believe they can learn from experiences, develop skills, and improve if they practice and persevere – which can lead to greater achievement.

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Don't rush, let's talk

Productive conversations take time. They contain personal reflection and emotional self-management, perhaps also preparation. They certainly utilise active listening, a desire to be clear, to collaborate and to follow-up. Rushing is the enemy of a constructive conversation.

Yet conversational skills are almost never taught in schools, and are actively being eroded with the ever increasing modalities available to us to communicate in short-hand – texting, emailing, instant chat (often with auto-suggest). Actively building your conversational skills, and taking time with others to have these conversations, takes effort. But it’s effort well spent. It says ‘I want to understand you and build ideas and ways forward with you, it’s important to me, and I’m willing to invest the time to do it.’ As a leader, the way you converse with those around you lets people know the degree to which you value them (or not).

There are important elements in a constructive conversation. Here are some of our top tips-

Most important is the ability to listen. Listening is not just something we do as we impatiently wait our turn to speak next. Active listening is something that feeds our understanding of the other person and the situation they are describing. We listen with our ears and eyes – not jumping to conclusions, and not being busy in our mind creating the next thing we are going to say. We are curious and patient. As the saying goes, active listening is not listening to respond. It’s listening to understand.

Empathy and compassion are important. Empathy is our ability to take the perspective and feel the emotions of another – to stand in another’s shoes. Compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. A constructive conversation has within it the wish to help the other person express themselves clearly. Perhaps we ask questions to help this process, perhaps we check our understanding of what the other person is saying and feeling – for example, “it sounds like you are disappointed because...”, or perhaps we simply stay silent and listen without judgement.

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Take Your Dog to Work Day 2022

Friday, June 24th is this year's Take Your Dog to Work Day. If you are lucky enough to have a well-behaved pup that can come in, make sure you get approval from your employer before you bring your pet in. With many people still working from home, we also encourage you to bring your dog and any other pets to your online meetings (with permission first of course)! 

What should I consider before taking my dog to the office?

It’s important to ensure this does not adversely impact on the health, welfare or working environment of employees, volunteers or visitors to office, or on the health and welfare of the animal or other animals in the office. For tips to make the experience run smoothly check out the RSPCA's Website.

So why bring pets into the office?

If you are an animal person, you are likely to already know that pets can boost your physical and mental health. There are some solid reasons for this.

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Coping with Financial Stress

There is no doubt that COVID has had a wide-ranging impact on all of us. We know that one thing people often worry about is their financial situation. Financial worry is normal. Financial security, job security and a steady income are important basic things we require to provide for our loved ones, to feel safe and secure. Financial security supports our wellbeing, such as leisure time and activities. The loss of that security creates uncertainty and anxiety. If we are not careful to manage our thoughts and emotions, financial stress can dominate our thoughts 24/7 and impact on our health and wellbeing.

The way we view our financial situation can shape our thoughts and feelings more generally. Financial challenges can occur at many times during our lives – getting married or separated, buying or selling a home, illness, reduced work hours or redundancy. Understanding financial concepts can be confusing, but getting your finances in order will help reduce stress and get you back on track. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available.

Here are some basic tips on reducing finance-related stress:

1) Learn to budget: If your financial situation is causing you stress, it’s vital to create a budget. Record all income and expenditure and know exactly what you spend on non-essential items. Be critical of what you are spending and cut down on any unessential items if necessary.

2) Pay off debt: Review and consolidate loans to help get them under control. Pay off your credit card debt and remember to start with the credit card with the highest interest rate.

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Regional mental health

Published in The Canberra Times May 13 2022

Letter to the Editor - Melita Griffin, AccessEAP Director, Customer Relationships

Regional mental health

Melissa Meehan's article on the struggling mental health system in regional Australia ("Regional post-COVID mental health crisis", canberratimes.com.au, May 4) raises a troubling trend that is prevalent on a national scale. As demand for mental health support outstrips supply, companies are well-placed to support the system with early intervention.

The Australian Counselling Association reports waiting times of four to six weeks for a quarter of those living in rural and regional areas, but this is just the tip of a deep iceberg. As one of Australia's largest Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), we've had countless reports of waiting times as long as nine months.

With more than two thirds of regional Australians experiencing depression and anxiety over the past two years, it's never been more important for mental health and wellbeing providers to work together to support those in need. No one should have to suffer in silence. 

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Men's Health Week 2022

It's Men's Health Week from the 13-19 June. The focus is on Building Healthy Environments for Men and Boys. It is an important opportunity to highlight the importance of men's health, and to promote and support the health and wellbeing of men and boys in our communities. Find out more on the official website.

At AccessEAP, we often hear from men that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This can lead to unrealistic expectations that as a man you should be able to cope no matter what, and "get on with it". Emotions become synonymous with weakness and powerlessness. Men may also dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.

Men experience emotions just as much as women do, however, the pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviour. Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways including:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Addiction to gambling or betting
  • Ending relationships prematurely
  • Resigning suddenly from their job
  • Stopping activities of interest e.g. sports
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Working longer hours
  • Communication only via emails or text messages
  • Aggression or violence
  • Excessive time watching fantasy films, or gaming

What can AccessEAP do to help?

We can provide a comfortable and private space to talk where there isn’t pressure to bottle things up. A person who is experienced in understanding human emotion and behaviour can listen without judgment and without consequence. We can even offer tips or strategies if that’s what is wanted or needed.

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Leadership Series – Manage Change

Samantha Dounis, Learning and Development Advisor

“There is nothing permanent except change.” - Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

In the workplace and indeed in life, change is a constant! Change interrupts the flow, up-ends the status quo and very often leads to conflicts. Effective leaders embrace change, recognise diversity, and manage it well by encouraging inclusion and helping the individual, team, and organisation to thrive. 

Organisations are impacted by changes from various sources - external factors we have no control over, including globalisation, changes in legislation or the economy, as well as internal factors like technological improvements, operational efficiencies or changes in products and services. Resistance to change is natural and should not be discouraged, but rather discussed and understood, bringing in diverse voices to work through the issues.

There are various models that can be successful for managing change in the workplace. John Kotter, a professor at Harvard Business School and world-renowned change expert, laid out an eight-step change process.

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The Great Resignation - Is it real?

The Great Resignation is a label first coined in the United States to describe the way that people were reassessing their priorities and looking for purpose after the new experience of working from home and being faced with the challenges of the global pandemic. This reassessment often resulted in people leaving their current job for another one or choosing a completely different path. Although we may not be seeing the same trend in Australia, there are certainly indications that workplaces are facing pressure from their people to provide more in terms of flexibility, benefits and remuneration.  This pressure is due to three main reasons:

  1. Burnout and Languishing. Burnout is characterised by chronic depletion, and energy depletion resulting in the inability to function. Languishing is characterised by “feeling less”. Less motivated, less productive, less engaged, less enjoyable overall. A general absence of wellbeing.
  2. What is referred to as mortality reality. When faced with a global health crisis we question what is important and why we do what we do. Most often we look for purpose and meaning.
  3. Flexibility and agency. A taste of greater control over the workday was achieved due to the work from home experience and consequently people want more flexibility.

Not all workplaces have the same challenges

Some industries are comprised of a mix of essential workers who have remained in their workplaces while other roles have moved to work from home or a hybrid of the two. Back in 2018, there was a buzz around “flexible work”. However, there was a fear amongst managers and leaders that productivity would decline, and people may take advantage. The worldwide pandemic put the theory to the test with overwhelmingly positive experiences. People were trusted to work from home and by and large rose to the task, exceeding expectations and maintaining productive working remotely. Of course, over time variations in productivity based on several factors may emerge.

Hybrid is now the buzzword

 Almost 75% of people want to be in the workplace some of the time but most wanted a hybrid of work from home and work in the workplace.

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Celebrate Difference

The creation of your workplace culture comes from all the everyday interactions between everyone who works at your organisation. From the way people say good morning when they arrive at work or join an online team meeting, to all-employee email communications, all these interactions help create your particular organisational culture. And placing the practice of diversity and inclusion as a central part of your people strategy helps shape these everyday interactions, encouraging a workplace where respect and trust are top of mind.

Diversity is who we are. It’s the mix of visible and invisible differences such as differences in gender, age, mental or physical ability, ethnicity, and values. Diversity is endless and can be compared with an iceberg: there are aspects that are very visible, such as gender, age, and skin colour; and other aspects that are under the surface, such as education and thinking style. Diversity in an organisation brings the differences in thought and perspectives that come with all different life experiences, backgrounds and demographics.

Inclusion is how we make people feel. Inclusion is helping people feel valued and free to be themselves, even if they look, think or behave differently from the majority. Diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand. It’s been said that ‘diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.’ One without the other leaves the process of creating a workplace where difference is embraced incomplete.

Did you know…

  • The most inclusive and diverse companies are 6x more likely to innovate[1]
  • Diverse teams are 87% more likely to make sound business decisions[2]
  • Companies with the most ethnically diverse leadership teams deliver 33% higher returns to investors[3]

Therefore, a culture where diversity and inclusion are regularly talked about, practised and advocated not only makes for a more equitable work environment, it also makes excellent business sense. Research shows we tend to prefer the familiar. Creating and supporting a diverse workplace is a conscious choice. Whatever your role, you can make a difference. Leading by example and encouraging others to do the same is vital – for example, you can aim to always respect and include others and encourage openness to hearing, discussing and debating differences of opinion. Importantly, it’s about noticing our own unconscious bias – the kneejerk assumptions and responses towards others who we perceive as different. It might then take conscious effort to consider the world from their standpoint, and to consider their ideas. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone you meet – but it does mean you strive towards respectful dialogue. Inviting this dialogue, actively pursuing diversity and inclusion, benefits business, benefits those who may become marginalised, and benefits us as we see the world through different lenses.

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5 Health Pillars

There are many ways to exhale, and one particularly helpful one is cleaning out the unnecessary and outdated information in our brains. Like a spring clean in our house or car, a cleanout of the mind requires taking time and reflecting on all aspects of life to see where you are at right now. When looking at the five pillars of health (social, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual), the exhale starts by reviewing all five aspects. Looking and rate each pillar from one to five (5 being the best); how well do you think you are doing the following?

When completing the rating, try to avoid comparison or judgment and just take some time to sit down and think. If you prefer pen and paper, use an exercise book to write down each pillar and its rating. Then list ideas of what may need to happen next with the above categories. Have a think about what is in balance in your life, what you are generally drawn to and what helps you heal – this may be a road map to assist you to see what you can do more of to get all five to a rating of 5.

Taking the time to reflect on how you process what is happening in the world and in your close environment (colleagues, family, and friends) is a big part of the exhale. Thinking about your approach to people and how you interact with them is a way to move after a big event. The reason being that those who are self-aware appear to have more empathy towards others; they are better listeners, can think more critically and report that their decision making improves. These all appear to be useful skills in a post-pandemic world.

If you are not sure where to start with your life audit, improving your wellbeing or would like some suggestions on how to self-reflect, start with our app, AccessMyEAP. Inside it has a wellbeing tracker that allows us to keep an eye on how we are carrying out our day-to-day wellbeing. Also, our friendly and supportive clinicians can also assist you with face to face, video or phone appointments focussing on self-reflection, growth or wellbeing. Contact AccessEAP on 1800 818 728.

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Video: Constructive Conversations

AccessEAP In The Moment Video Series: Constructive Conversations

Presented by: Anthony Bui & Samantha Dounis
Duration: 10 mins

Embedding Link: https://vimeo.com/703085703

Leadership Series – Deep Work

Kristen Carroll, Organisational and Learning & Development Consultant

In a world that seems to uphold “multitasking” as a virtue, it can feel uncomfortable or downright rebellious to work counter to this. However, bouncing between your phone, inbox, instant messaging, and meetings is not the way to get ahead! Explore the concept of Deep Work as a means of tapping into your full potential.

What is Deep Work?

Cal Newport, an author and computer science professor at Georgetown University, defined Deep Work as: “Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.” He explained that if you are not intentional about how you spend your time, you risk wasting hours of your day to what he describes as “shallow work”: “Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend to not create new value in the world and are easy to replicate.”

Build a Deep Work Routine

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How to best manage your mental health during traumatic events

Published in Busy Continent 15th April 2022

Marcela Slepica, AccessEAP Director, Clinical Services discusses how to best manage your mental health during traumatic events.

Increasingly, in a post-pandemic era, organisational leaders have both an opportunity and an obligation to ensure that employee mental health does not slip from the agenda. 

It’s human to become stressed when we see other people in pain. Understanding that a trauma can happen to anyone is a good place to start. But how do we spot the signs? Find out more below.

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Accountant - Sydney Based

  • Support the making of good business decisions
  • CBD location
  • Help make a difference every day

Your role will be to provide financial support and business insights to assist business decisions, manage risk and quality control of financial management outputs. Your key responsibilities will include managing end of month finance timetable, preparation and analysis of monthly management accounts and business metrics for divisions. You will also assist in the preparation and lodgement of tax and other statutory requirements.

Degree qualified, you will be adept at using MYOB and Excel at an intermediate level. An understanding of  ACE Executive and Tableau software will be well regarded. Your track record of success will reflect your ability to engage with a broad range of people, work autonomously and respond well to the pressure of multiple priorities. Your key skills will include your rapport building, analysis, judgement and outstanding interpersonal skills. Most importantly, you will enjoy working in a team environment that is driven by respect, collaboration and accomplishment.

Being a NFP, AccessEAP provides attractive salary packaging options. AccessEAP takes the health of employees seriously, and you will be working in an environment that genuinely cares about the wellbeing of all employees.

For more information, call David Williams on 0414551795 or to apply, send your resume to dwilliams@kurtispaige.com.au

It's About Time - Time Management Tactics

We all know logically that time is a finite resource. Yet many of us live as if it can be stretched so that we can fit more and more into a 24-hour day.  Sometimes we sacrifice sleep so we can get more done. Or we live our life imaging we can fit more in than we actually can, so we spend a lot of time rushing to complete tasks that actually need more time or apologising when we miss a deadline.

When we don’t manage our time and energy well, life can feel out of control, and we are constantly chasing our own tail. On the other hand, when we do manage these resources well, we find we can better prioritise, have a better balance in life both at work and outside of it, and have more time to relax, unwind, and do things that are simply fun, adding to our enjoyment and wellbeing.

Time management is something we can learn and improve. It can be defined as “the decision-making process that structures, protects, and adjusts the way we spend our time.” There are three key skills to do this well.

  • Awareness: we think realistically about time by understanding that it is a limited resource.
    • This includes bringing self-awareness to how we prefer to schedule our time. Do we like to have thinking time first thing in the morning or later in the day? When do we prefer to do our regular admin tasks? It’s better to organise the day so it fits with the way we work most effectively. Being aware of time can help us act more autonomously, rather than simply reacting to others’ demands.
  • Arrangement: design and organise goals, plans, schedules and tasks to effectively use the time that is available.
    • The urgent-important matrix is a way to think about priorities. The horizontal axis goes from urgent on the left to not urgent on the right. The vertical axis runs from important at the top to not important at the bottom. Arrange tasks in this matrix to help decide how to organise your time. For example, anything that is urgent and important is prioritised. Anything that is not urgent and not important is put at the end of the to-do list, or perhaps let go.
  • Adaptation: monitor use of time while carrying out activities, including adjusting for interruptions and any changes in priority.
    • For example, try to reduce the errors made in estimating how long something will take; break down long-term challenging goals into smaller parts that are easier to achieve one at a time over shorter periods of time; create do-not-disturb time slots for concentrated effort.

Being more organised with time management takes discipline and effort – you may need to create new time-management habits. Also, note if there is any emotional pay-off from not organising yourself well. For example, If you leave things till the last minute, do you get an adrenaline rush when you make it over the finish-line just in time?  You might have to give this up if you want to be more time-organised.

Counselling support can help you to identify when stress and anxiety may be affecting your time management skills and how to move forward. Start now and benefit from this free and confidential service. Call AccessEAP on 1800 818 728. 

Video: Burnout - The Butterfly Hug

AccessEAP In The Moment Video Series: Burnout - The Butterfly Hug

Presented by: Julie Chalmers & Annie Panow
Duration: 4 mins 50 secs

 

Embedding Link: https://vimeo.com/692036908

indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
.

indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.